Society of Saint Basil the Great

Society of Saint Basil the Great (Obshchestvo sv. Vasiliia Velikogo). A Russophile cultural-educational society established in Uzhhorod in 1864 by Oleksander Dukhnovych for the purpose of spreading education and preserving the religious and national traditions of the Ruthenians of Transcarpathia. Headed by Ivan Rakovsky (president), Adolf Dobriansky (honorary president), and I. Mondok (secretary) and supported by bishops Vasyl Popovych and Yosyf Gaganets, the society grew quickly to about 500 members, mostly clerical and secular intelligentsia. It published school texts, literary works, and periodicals, such as Svit (Uzhhorod) (1867–71), Novyi svit (1871–2), Karpat’ (1873–86), Uchytel’ (1867), and thenewspaper Nauka (1897–1902). The language of its publication was an artificial mixture of Russian, Church Slavonic, and the vernacular. Owing to the intervention of the Hungarian authorities and pressure from Bishop Stepan Pankovych, the society changed its orientation in the 1870s to a pro-Hungarian one and began to decline. In 1895 a group of young populist-minded priests, including Avhustyn Voloshyn, Vasyl Hadzhega, and Petro Gebei, tried to revitalize it, but without success. In 1902 the society was dissolved, and its assets were transferred to the new commercial publishing venture Uniia.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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